While India’s healthcare sector has been booming, the market space itself has undergone tremendous change – consumers now expect both information and service at their fingertips. This means that in addition to having a robust website, you also need to engage with potential patients on social media networks. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the use of social media for medical marketing has twice as much potential value in enhancing communication and building collaborations to grow healthcare businesses.
How Healthcare Companies Can Leverage Social Media
To use social media in healthcare successfully you have to have an in-depth knowledge of the platform and an understanding of how to leverage these networks for medical marketing.
- Understand The Consumer Base Through Quantitative And Qualitative Data
Because of the vastness of data, marketers can get overwhelmed, making it important to also garner insights gained through qualitative data. Quantitative research allows you to focus on areas that need further investigation, while qualitative research allows you to explore these facets in greater depth, also setting parameters on the quantitative research.
- Cross-Promote Between Multiple Social Media Platforms To Increase Reach
Strategic healthcare marketing for social media is critical for any good branding initiative. Social media has grown past simple posting and now engages consumers across multiple platforms. This type of cross-promotion encompasses advertising, marketing, communications, and even sales in one incredibly effective and efficient medium. Different social media networks allow various ways of interacting with your audience which will add more patients into your lead funnel.
- Track & Participate In Social Health Trends To Create Awareness
Health trends, including various global health observances such as World Heart Day and World Diabetes Day, have been gaining traction in recent years thanks to social media platforms. Tracking and participating in social health trends not only generate awareness about specific health concerns but can also help to create a brand association that prompts your consumers to instantly recollect your health care services when they are faced with a health problem.
- Use Social Media To Create A “Unique Tone” And Build Trust
Social media allows you to adopt a “voice” that reflects your brand. While some companies prefer to go the ‘fun and friendly’ route, it is wiser for a healthcare marketing firm to take on an authentic but approachable tone. A consistent tone over social networks helps to build trust and brand loyalty. Similarly, patient education and other initiatives that encourage engagement foster confidence and create long-term customer loyalty.
- Disseminate Information And Guide Customers’ Decision Making Patterns
A strong social network lets healthcare companies share vital health information, including time-sensitive information such as in the case of a health crisis or even seasonal health problems. Social media allows these companies to disseminate factual information, suggest preventative care measures, and engage in health advocacy. Healthcare companies that are acknowledged as authoritative sources of information can also suggest products to augment clinical care as well as general health.
- Collaborate With Influencers For Improved Exposure
Social media influencers are essential to any social media campaign, especially during the initial stages. Influencers have tremendous reach and collaborating with them will help to increase the consumer base within a very short span. Selecting the right influencers can help you reach your target audience with minimal effort while providing them with maximum gains. The number of influencers in the healthcare sphere has increased exponentially within the last 5 years as most of these people discuss their experience with a specific condition and share advice on how to deal with the problem.
- Use Social Media Platforms To Reward Loyal Followers
It is important to focus on attracting new consumers, it is equally important to retain existing patients as this ensures brand loyalty. To promote engagement across your entire network, you can provide offers, promotions, and rewards, especially for those who participate on a regular basis. You can take this one step further by creating a rewards program for their social interaction efforts where incentives can include anything from access to exclusive how-to videos, offering a sneak peak before your product launch, or a personalized gift hamper.
- Improve video marketing through social media to tell effective brand stories
Videos aren’t just visually stimulating, but they elicit a powerful emotional response because of the psychological phenomenon of emotional contagion. This is why telling stories through video increases user engagement, also triggering social sharing and encouraging conversations about the brand both online and offline. A survey by Levels Beyond found that 40% of consumers prefer watching brand videos to receiving the same information via text.
- Gather Real-Time Data To Measure Campaign Effectiveness
One of the many benefits of social media campaigns is that they provide real-time data which can be used to modify a marketing campaign based on its effectiveness. This has completely eliminated the “guessing game” scenario and instead, marketing effectiveness can be closely monitored, qualified, and quantified through real-time data analytics. Real-time performance insights and powerful social intelligence provide you with all the information you require to transform visitors into leads.
- Establish Authentic Relationships With Your Consumers
People don’t want to deal with a heartless company that only views them as a source of revenue. However, you can use social media to humanize your healthcare company and showcase your brand’s personality. A simple way to establish authentic relationships with your patients is to value their time by providing a quick response. Surveys show that customers expect a response on social media platforms in 4 hours or less but most companies have an average response time of 10 hours. Responding in a timely manner strengthens relationships and even leads to more revenue as evidenced by a recent study from Twitter. They found that customers were willing to pay more for an airline that responded to their tweets in under 6 minutes.
- Use Creative Hashtags To Grab More Eyeballs
There’s no denying the simplicity and efficacy of hashtags for user engagement, but they can do so much more for brands. Innovative use of hashtags can create a unique identity for a specific subject or brand. Coining a successful hashtag will create an association with your brand. Hashtags can also be used across various social networks, creating a digital experience with greater uniformity and consistency for users. The impact of successful hashtag campaigns like #MeToo or #IceBucketChallenge can yield benefits that extend well beyond social media and digital mediums too.
- Improve Advertising Through Smart Audience Targeting
Facebook has a massive repository of social data and since Instagram and Facebook have shared user data, you have access to a very sophisticated level of audience targeting. For instance, with Facebook’s “custom audience” feature, you can ensure that your posts and ads reach your current fans at a higher rate than organic posts which drastically increases retention rates. In addition to basic demographic data options, a medical advertising agency can also get into more granular targeting options including income, interests, purchase behaviors, digital activities, and so much more. This allows you to narrow your campaign efforts to your target audience which will generate more leads.
- Instigate Community Outreach And Engagement
Social media platforms are an excellent way to reach out to people and build virtual communities. Social networks can be used to educate patients regarding various healthcare topics and equip them with the tools they require to improve and manage their own health. For instance, lifestyle diseases have been on the rise and sharing tips and information on how to avoid these health issues would increase patient awareness and engagement.
- Gauge Consumer Satisfaction And Evaluate Competitors
A patient’s satisfaction has a direct impact on the decisions they make regarding health care which is why it is important to gauge and track customer satisfaction trends. Once you have a sufficient number of followers, create polls to find out more about their experiences with your healthcare company as well as their view of your products and/or services. Acknowledge and appreciate their feedback by providing small incentives and loyalty rewards. You should also observe and evaluate your competitors as this could help you tweak your own marketing strategy accordingly.
The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media for Health Care Companies: 70-90 words
Despite its immense potential, healthcare social media marketing also poses several challenges because of the intricacies of the various platforms and a general lack of trust in the medical industry. While this is an obstacle, social media also offers a solution as it is the best platform for building reputation and credibility by forging a real connection with audiences through personalized stories and patient testimonials or reviews.
Another challenge in healthcare digital marketing is the pace of innovation and change, making it imperative to work closely with a healthcare ad agency that is attuned to the social environment. A strong healthcare digital marketing agency will be able to track these developments and monitor their impact on marketing, so as to adapt and respond swiftly.
Health care service providers who embrace social media marketing and evolve strategies to overcome such obstacles stand to make the greatest gains, however, as more Indians are turning to the digital medium for healthcare information and services.